Global standards have enabled many industries to increase their operational maturity and management, freeing up time to focus on the customer and the organisation’s core mission. In the NHS, the application of global standards will free up clinicians to focus on patient care and also support clinicians to provide error-free care, every time.

One of the most tangible and visible uses of global standards are in barcodes – something that most of us use every day, either shopping on the high street or online. Behind these innocuous black and white lines, sits a global standard (language) which is used to identify products uniquely.

Scan4Safety is a world first in healthcare – and a vital part of this government’s drive to make the NHS the safest and most transparent healthcare system in the world

Jeremy Hunt

Other uses include the aviation industry, where global standards are used to identify you when you go through an airport to board a plane. This enables airlines to know exactly who is on board and where they are going.

Barcodes are just one application of global standards, with some sectors utilising radio frequency technology (RFID) to uniquely identify items without the physical process of scanning. This application is most readily recognisable in the retail industry which uses this technology in security tagging. Barcodes still represent the most common and reliable form of this technology, having been around since the 1970s.